Naomi Shihab Nye
Greenwillow, 2005 (2005)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Lyn Seippel
ixteen-year-old Florrie is a political activist-in-the-making. She loves her old San Antonio neighborhood. She'd like nothing better than if it had stayed the same as it was at the turn or the century or when her mom was a child or even just a few years ago, but her neighborhood is changing. More and more franchises are moving in and taking the place of neighborhood businesses and houses. If Florrie can just get the rest of San Antonio to wake up and recognize the importance of saving San Antonio's individuality she might be able to turn the tide.
he starts small with her own family who agree to stop using franchises at least until the end of the year, frequenting locally owned shops and restaurants instead. Only her brother has a problem with her plan, but he finally agrees to the boycott. Florrie calls on her friends next, and after some moaning about the things they'll be missing, like slurpees, pancakes from IHOP, and the mall, they join in and manage to drag other schoolmates in along with them. Some readers may be as amazed as Florrie is to realize that many suburban children have never even eaten in restaurants that are not part of a chain or bought clothing in a shop where the clothes aren't duplicated in the same store just a few miles away.
lorrie's campaign changes the boycotters, who gain new knowledge of their city and its history. Florrie is quick to realize that all things start small and the positive signs shouldn't be dismissed. In Austin, residents are wearing T-shirts and bumper stickers with the slogan
Keep Austin Weird
in an effort to encourage local businesses. Other communities refuse to allow in franchises who don't comply with their community standards or won't use already existing historic buildings. Still others won't allow them at all. And if Florrie had not been boycotting TCBY, she might not have met Ramsey at Justin's Italian Ice. Ramsey, whose father ironically manages a Marriott, becomes an unlikely addition to her campaign.
lorrie's story is fiction, but there is truth in how change begins. Readers know this will not be the passionate teen's last campaign. As her friend, Bailey, said, '
Florrie, you’re a 1960's kind of girl.
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